Brighten Up Your Life!

If life seems dull, do something about it! You don’t need a lot of money, either. If you have a fabric stash and a sewing machine and/or serger, there’s zero cost.
Make throw pillow covers! If you have a theme you like, you can use that. I made vibrant Day of the Dead pillow covers for pillows my daughter already had. It looked like she had redecorated the whole living room after she put them on her couch.
Here’s how I put these all together:

Press fabric, measure, cut, make a narrow hem on the two back/reverse pieces, arrange the top and back sections, sew around the whole outside, and take a breath. I always make a diagonal cut across the points of the corners, close to my stitches. That reduces the bulk of fabric when the project is turned right side out. Press, urging the rounded corners of the pillows into sharp angles. Don’t skip ironing! This is what makes homemade look professional.

If you have lots of spare blankets or throws, you can fold them, estimate the size pillow it would make, and make covers/containers for them. The spare room can be decorated with pretty, functional storage units.

What an inexpensive way to decorate for the seasons and holidays! Swap out colors or themes of the covers, bringing Christmas or the seasons with a quick twenty-minute project. If you have too many blankets or throws, bundle them up and make a cover for them, too. Remember to share your pillowcase creations with the gang, too.

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Travel with Mona, in Train through Switzerland

We flew to Geneva in August, supposedly the warmest month in Europe and landed through dark clouds and pouring rain. My first impression wasn’t the best.

My first sight of the Lake
with the Geneva Water Fountain
Geneva is well-known as the headquarters
of Europe’s United Nations and Red Cross

From Geneva we boarded the train to Zermatt, in southern Switzerland, a mountain resort renowned for skiing, climbing and hiking.

Zermatt’s main street, Bahnhofstrasse is lined with boutique shops, hotels and restaurants, and also has a lively after-ski scene. 
No combustion engine vehicles are allowed in Zermatt. In fact, this Swiss municipality has been free of cars for most of its history. In 1961, the citizens voted to uphold the ban.
After two delightful days in Zermatt, we boarded the Glacier Express Bahnhofstrasse. 
The town, at an elevation of around 1,600m, lies below the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak.
The slopes of Matterhorn present the magnificent beauty of the landscape and nature. You can enjoy skiing, snowboarding during the winter or hiking during the summer.
The Glacier Express train has panoramic sealed windows all the way to the roof. 

A journey with the Glacier Express: The Glacier Express is a direct train from Zermatt to St. Moritz. The train is also referred to as the ‘slowest express train in the world’: the journey takes about 8 hours. There is a good reason for this slow pace: the train squeezes its way through the Alps, through narrow valleys, tight curves, 91 tunnels, and across 291 bridges, allowing us to admire breathtaking views.

In Summer
In Winter

St. Moritz: A tiny Swiss mountain town with a big, glitz-infused name, StMoritz is the winter getaway that made the ski holiday a high-life ideal.

In Summer
In Winter
In winter the lake is frozen and becomes a skating rink

From St. Moritz that was outrageously expensive, we traveled by train to Zurich.

The city of Zurich, a global center for banking and finance, lies at the north end of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland. The picturesque lanes of the central Altstadt (Old Town), on either side of the Limmat River, reflect its pre-medieval history. Waterfront promenades like the Limmatquai follow the river toward the 17th-century Rathaus (town hall).

A view of the Old Town

A delightful place for children as they enjoy a train ride.

A waterfront promenade

In Zermatt and Zurich, we ate some of the best pastries I’ve ever tasted. Their bread pudding and apple strudel were out of this world.

After a week touring Switzerland, we boarded the train one more time from Zurich to Strasbourg and Paris. But that’s a story for another time.

NEWSLETTER

Reading for February:

NOT READY YET – The Senator’s Family, book 4

NOT READY YET – The Senator’s Family, book 4

They were high school sweethearts in their senior year. The top of the class nerd and the dashing athlete. She helped him with math problems and he helped her shed her bashfulness. In between homework and torrid sex, they shared their goals for a successful future: no marriage, no children, no family, until they realize their dreams.
They meet eighteen years later at a hospital fundraising event. When Ethan Dutton, now a millionaire contractor recognizes the gorgeous Dr. Elyana Matteo, a brilliant pediatric cardio-surgeon, he bets $50,000 at an auction to open the dance with her.
He wants to date her. Elyana has no time for fun. She’s a widow with a teenage daughter and triplet toddlers, and a very busy career. Ethan who’s never taken no for an answer, asks to visit the boys’ daycare center and soon offers to remodel her old mansion. The boys adore him and Elyana falls again under his charm.
But their past threatens to destroy their present…
Can they forgive the selfishness of their youth?
Can they make room for unconditional love?

Smile, darn ya, SMILE!

Let’s see if you can resist smiling…

I think the world has forgotten how to laugh. Let’s see if I can get a smile or two out of these trivia facts:
A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. (O.M.G.!!!) A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy. I’m still not over the pig.) The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off. (Honey, I’m home . What the…?) The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It’s like a human jumping the length of a football field. (30 minutes. Lucky pig! Can you imagine?) The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. (What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?) Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (I still can’t believe that pig …quality over quantity.) Butterflies taste with their feet. (Something I always wanted to know.) Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. (Okay, so that would be a good thing.) A cat’s urine glows under a black light. (I wonder how much the government paid to figure that out.) An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that.) Starfish have no brains. (I know some people like that, too.) Polar bears are left-handed. (A southpaw from the Far North.) Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (What about that pig? Do the dolphins know about the pig?) Now that you’ve smiled at least once, it’s your turn to spread these crazy facts.

Look for the bad guys and laugh at the same time!

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Magic for the Multitudes

When prehistoric men marked cave walls with images of animals and events, were they bragging about their kills or letting others know which four-legged food could be tracked and conquered in the area? Magic. Was this art or information sharing?

Generations later, we’re still using Magic, the media changing: oils and canvas, print and cellulose to encrypted data and electricty. We’re able to share images, thoughts, and information beyond the cave to a much broader range and more quickly, the speed not dependent on how fast a courier can transport paintings or printed works, but how fast and strong the internet connections are.

Magic: making marks that will correspond to the words of plans, pacts, and passions can be shared with succeeding generations. Egyptian heiroglyphics and Babylonian cuneiform tablet remains prove that oral histories are limited. A tangible form has always been needed.

I’m grateful to live in a time where I can share my thoughts and fantasies with people around the world via the ‘Magic’ of the internet. My daughter’s great-great-grandparents were missionaires to an isolated area in South Africa, the first white people in that neighborhood. Generations later, she can communicate, share photos, or even play games with people in that part of the world without having to travel long distances, learn a new language, or risk dengue fever, all with the Magic of the internet and digital translators.

What’s next? It seems we have it all now, save a few magic potions to cure the ever-expanding list of plagues and diseases. A cure for cancer? Let’s hope so. How about a vitamin that takes away the urge for alcohol and drug addiction, a tonic for menopause or mental illness? Scientists and physicians are working on these now.

Two ‘Magics’ on my wish list: a Fountain of Youth elixir and safe method of Time Travel. I’ve already ‘claimed’ both. Check out the Time Travel series THE FAIRIES SAGA. The prequel (a parody of Time Travel fanatics) is part of SWEET ROMANTIC NIGHTS, Fabulous Freebies Collection #4.

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Meet James, Leah, and others before they knew the ‘truth’ about time travel in the prequel to The Fairies Saga, LOST: THE TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE THAT STARTED IT ALL. Free as a single or in the Authors’ Billboard box set SWEET ROMANTIC NIGHTS, Fabulous Freebie Collection Book Four. Available all over the world via Amazon, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and a few more venues.